Joy Of Life Chapter 671
After Thirteenth Wang heard these words, he sank into thought for a moment and did not reply. He then stood up in front of Fan Xian. Slowly, he drew out the sword at his side. The current Thirteenth Wang was not the green banner carrying fortune-teller that had walked the earth to experience people's intentions. He was a swordsman who followed by Fan Xian's side and did not wish to live an independent life.
Fan Xian's expression became stern. His right hand reached behind him and pulled out the Wei Emperor's sword. The sword rippled with an autumn light as it reflected the sea close by.
Without any foreshadowing, the sword silently moved to within an arm's length of Fan Xian's body.
This was the first time Fan Xian had truly seen Thirteenth Wang wield a sword. Only now did he understand why Sigu Jian had wholly entrusted his legacy to this young man. Without question, Thirteenth Wang's understanding of sword intent had reached an advanced realm. With a single thought, the tip of the sword stopped. It had almost surpassed the limitations of the environment.
This was the terrifying realm of a tenacious will. Once Thirteenth Wang moved his sword, there were no miscellaneous thoughts in his mind. There was only this sword.
The Emperor's sword in Fan Xian's hands was still pointing at a 45-degree angle at the sky. He didn't have time to react at all. With his face pale, the Tyrannical zhenqi behind his back exploded outward. Without any delay, it forcefully pulled at his body. Like a seagull extending its wings, he slid lightly backward across the sand.
He slid back 54 yards. It was a strange bodily movement that humans should not possess.
Thirteenth Wang was a one-strike assassin. The icy light on the tip of his sword gradually retreated, but a long sword mark appeared out of nowhere on the sand in front of him. It was as if someone had walked by, like a sword had passed by.
Fan Xian's hand was still tightly clenched around the Emperor's sword. He suddenly had the illusion that this seemingly light and straightforward strike by Thirteenth Wang seemed to carry a similar aura. It was like when the Shadow coalesced decades of training, intention, and hatred into his astounding strike in the manor of the Master of Dongyi City that day.
He looked dazedly at the silent Thirteenth Wang and said after a moment of silence, "What a Tyrannical strike."
It was only after he spoke that he realized his voice was a bit raspy. Presumably, it was because the zhenqi in his body had been raised too much in such a short time in order to dodge the simple strike that it had damaged his lungs.
Fan Xian took a deep breath. The paleness of his face gradually returned to normal. He glanced deeply at Thirteenth Wang and said, "To press forward without fear is indeed your style. However, in the past, you were not so fast or powerful."
"I practiced the Tyrannical zhenqi. I could not pass the first level, but I did get a taste of this martial method." Thirteenth Wang's strike had failed. Slowly he closed his eyes and said, "I have thought things through. There is no need to be greedy. I have my sword in hand. Why should I learn the Qing Emperor's secret?"
The Unnamed Martial Secret was too powerful, particularly when passing the first level. The separation of the soul and body, the complete break, and the feeling of being out of control were like being obsessed. In the past, Fan Xian had easily breezed through this level because he had spent his final days in his previous life lying in bed. He was long used to life in a vegetable state where only his mind was active while the rest of him was immobile.
Fan Xian was not surprised that Thirteenth Wang had not been able to step onto the path of mastering the Tyrannical martial method. He was surprised that Thirteenth Wang's level of comprehension was so high. He was able to sense the dangers of the Tyrannical martial method in a short time and have the wisdom to immediately stop any exploration in this direction.
"If I didn't dodge this strike just now, would you have killed me?" Fan Xian asked mockingly with a twitch of his lips.
Thirteenth Wang was silent for a moment and then shook his head. He felt slightly tired and sat down, right onto the slightly wet sand by the seashore. That strike appeared simple. It was only a basic extension of the elbow. To do it so quickly and with such determination, it had drained much of his energy.
Thirteenth Wang would not be able to perform the same attack again within a short amount of time. Just like how the Shadow in the manor could only attack Sigu Jian that one time.
Fan Xian was aware of this. Slowly lifting his feet, he walked to Thirteenth Wang's side. In a strange mood, he said, "Many people say that there is no need to be greedy. Even you have such wisdom. But, I often think that skills do not weigh down the body, am I wrong?"
A faint confusion flashed through his eyes. "There are four Great Grandmasters in the world and my blind uncle. Of the five secret skills, I know four of them. I have even mostly figured out the Ye Family's Flowing Cloud Release."
He sat in front of Thirteenth Wang and furrowed his brows. "In all the world, no, it should be from the ancient times to now, I am the only one to have learned so many secret skills. However, today, I was forced back by you in one move. What was the use of learning so much?"
"To be able to learn this much already demonstrates that you are the most terrifying person in this world." Although Thirteenth Wang's nature was simple, he was not like Da Bao. He acutely sensed the gradually rising sense of defeat in Fan Xian's heart. He looked into his eyes and said, "All forms of martial skill require us to devote our entire lives to cultivating, practicing, and perfecting, much less a secret left behind by the Great Grandmasters. It is already astounding that you are able to master four of the cultivations to a pinnacle in a mere 20 years.
Fan Xian had cultivated the four Great Grandmasters' secret skills. However, he had no choice but to temporarily retreat before Thirteenth Wang's strike. He couldn't help but remember Sigu Jian's realm, as well as the Emperor's realm. A gloominess rose in his heart that could not be suppressed.
Thirteenth Wang looked into his eyes and quietly said, "Your ability to comprehend is good. Your foundations are particularly solid. In addition to such good luck, you should be the most powerful person in the world."
"My comprehension is only mediocre, particularly compared to you and Haitang Duoduo." Fan Xian took a deep breath. "All I can depend on is hard work. There is a limit to one's strength. Even if I worked twice as hard as I did now, I would still not be able to break through that barrier."
Fan Xian, faced with Thirteenth Wang's unexpected strike, was still able to easily dodge aside. Additionally, there was the secret hidden in his sleeve and within his body, particularly his sinister fighting style. He also had tricks the Overwatch Council had gifted him.
He was confident that he would always defeat his opponent regardless of which ninth-level ace it was, including Thirteenth Wang, Haitang, Lang Tiao, and Yun Zhilan. Once faced with him, the person to die would always be his opponent.
After Ye Liuyun left this world, Fan Xian was the second in the world in both power and personal cultivation.
Thirteenth Wang also sensed this from Fan Xian's seemingly casual slide earlier. A faint surprise rose in his heart. He looked at Fan Xian and could not understand how he, a young man in his 20s, had raised his cultivation to what it was now.
The realms of the three young people were similar. Fan Xian was more ruthless than them and had more tricks.
"How did you retreat like that?" Thirteenth Wang asked him with narrowed eyes.
Fan Xian was silent for a long time and did not reply. He just turned his head to stare at the gradually rising and falling white waves. He had been in Dongyi for a long time. The volume Master Ku He had left behind was deeply etched into his mind. Each time he meditated by the seaside, those words would surge into his mind. Although he didn't understand the majority of their meaning, miraculously, as long as he thought about it, there seemed to be some response within his body.
His body became light, and his movements became fast. The recovery of the zhenqi in his body also sped up. It seemed that there really was an invisible and intangible vitality in the world that was willing to follow his desire in supplementing what he used up.
That kind of supplementation scared him. Was it the magic of the West? Humankind would always have a fear toward things they didn't understand. What made Fan Xian feel cold was the fact that the change the little volume brought him was not enough to solve most of his problems. The speed of the supplementation was too slow. The rise in cultivation was too small. It seemed that the second best in the world could only ever be the second best.
There was a moment in which Fan Xian wondered if he had made a huge mistake. Regardless of whether it was Master Ku He, Sigu Jian, Ye Liuyun, or the Emperor, these people at the peak of humankind were all far above him when it came to determination, willpower, cultivation, and hard work. But, these Great Grandmasters had spent their entire lives cultivating only their martial method. They were never distracted by the other teachings.
He had learned too much and knew too much. Everything was overly jumbled together.
Fan Xian felt that when Thirteenth Wang and Duoduo eventually broke through the barrier, they would find it much easier than him. This was probably the intention Sigu Jian had spoken of. His intention was not as firm as those two because he was too scared. He sought ways to make himself stronger at all costs.
This purposefulness or casualness left him at a disadvantage. He was truly scared of dying and having those he cared about die.
"I am returning to the capital the day after tomorrow," Fan Xian said quietly with a slight smile suddenly rising to the corners of his lips. "As long as Dongyi does not fall into conflict, then at least the world at present is at peace. Why should I be worried about so many things?"
Although the assimilation of Dongyi into the Qing Kingdom's territory raised some unrest, the Qing Kingdom's powerful military power and cooperation with those in charge of Dongyi made it impossible for there to be any major upheavals.
The Emperor's trust in Fan Xian remained the same. Chen Pingping was about to retire from the capital. Thinking of this, Fan Xian rose and stood against the sea wind, feeling relaxed. Regardless of whether Uncle Wu Zhu returned, it seemed that if matters continued like this, he and the Emperor would eventually be able to find a second path to take between them. There might be no need for bloodshed.
Bloodshed was inevitable.
When the first autumn winds began to sweep through the small mountain behind Dongyi, Fan Xian finally finished dealing with the majority of affairs within Dongyi and waited for the Great Prince and Yun Zhilan's return. The first major unrest after Dongyi surrendered had finally been extinguished within the Liang Kingdom under the combined efforts from both sides. The fire that had been lit by Sir Gu's self-immolation had quickly been put out by blood and was not able to burn for long.
Four-hundred people died in the Liang Kingdom. These slightly bloodthirsty Dongyi people were, unfortunately, lying in a pool of blood.
After Fan Xian had made most of the memorials and left instructions for the Great Prince, he climbed into the carriage to leave Dongyi. He was returning to Jingdou to debrief.
Conquering a country had brought day after day of tension, busyness, and death to the officials in remote regions.
After the Great Prince parted from Fan Xian, he led the stationed troops in coldly watching each move made within Dongyi. At this point, he and Fan Xian both thought that the major situation was settled. As long as they continued slowly like this, regardless of whether it was the Qing court or the situation of the world, they would both remain within a controllable boundary.
Thus, the two brothers were in a good mood. In the clear and refreshing autumn weather, they felt relaxed and tossed aside all their worries.
Fan Xian could even temporarily put aside the problem of Ten Family Village, the problems of the past. As for that popular man in court, He Zongwei, he was just a clown in Fan Xian's eyes, completely unable to impact anything.
It was a good day. The past few days had all been some of the rare good days in Fan Xian's life.
The black Overwatch Council carriages left Dongyi and slowly drove along the road back to the capital. Fan Xian was not in a rush to return. Looking at the golden yellow, light yellow, and deep yellow all around him, the colorful leaves and autumn mountains seemed to be from an oil painting. He was enjoying a rare luxury.
Of course, the blood had not stopped flowing all along the way. As a powerful official of the Qing Kingdom, the Master of the Sword Hut, representative of the conquerors, and the Qing Emperor's beloved illegitimate son, Fan Xian was the foremost target for the volunteer armies of the vassal states surrounding Dongyi and attacks by unruly commoners all along the way back to the capital.
Perhaps unruly commoners was not an appropriate term and they should be called loyalists. A sense of justice was mostly possessed by the lower class. Most of the people within Dongyi unwilling to accept the surrender bravely entered the mountains and woods. They carried out guerrilla warfare against the invaders as the so-called jianghu people. It was clear these people, who knew martial arts, acted more straightforwardly when it came to protecting their own ethics and morals.
No one knew how these people figured out when Fan Xian was leaving Dongyi or how they got hold of the Overwatch Council's route back to the capital. All along the way, they carried out assassinations against the Qing officials in the black carriage, as well as suicide missions.
It took about 20 days to reach Yanjing. The group of black carriages was attacked a seven times. The troops providing support in Yanjing and the Black Knights stationed at the border did not come to the rescue. The Great Prince had only given a thousand troops to Fan Xian, so it had been difficult responding to the seven attacks.
Fan Xian was no longer in the mood to admire the scenery and sank into thought instead. His personal safety was not a problem. Often, after the volunteer armies threw down countless corpses, they had no choice but to retreat. However, his subordinates, particularly the Western Expedition soldiers under the Great Prince, had paid a great price for this.
Since they were sunk in endless attacks, the top-secret Council reports from Jingdou had not arrived for three days.
Fan Xian lifted the curtain on the carriage and looked west with narrowed eyes. He silently prayed that everything was fine in Jingdou and that the people he cared about were safe.
While Fan Xian was traversing through mountains, another long train of carriages was making its lonely way in the dark within the Qing Kingdom. This group of carriages was also black. In the spacious carriage in the center, there was an old man with a lamb wool blanket on his knees. His eyes were muddied. As he looked at the path in the darkness, he felt the road had no end.
The previous Director of the Overwatch Council, the most loyal Qing official who had secretly controlled the dark powers of the Qing Kingdom for decades, the most hated enemy of the Qing civil officials, the old scoundrel that Northern Qi and Dongyi were the most afraid of, a man who once influenced the state of the entire world, old man Chen Pingping was finally on his way back to his hometown.
He was not returning home to visit family. He was returning to settle down back home. First-class achievements, countless rewards, and retirement were rare honors the Emperor gave this old dog, or so all of the civil officials in the Qing Kingdom believed.
Chen Pingping's hometown was in the east of the Qing Kingdom. If one were looking on a map, it would be right below Dongyi but very far away from both Danzhou and Jiaozhou. On the contrary, it was closer to Jiangnan. It was a not very advanced or developed area.
The lonely group of carriages taking him home was still far from his hometown. On this day, the carriage had just passed through Dazhou. The group of carriages had not informed the governments along the way to not disturb the officials or have them all come out in fear and kowtow toward the old Director.
However, when they reached Dazhou, it was lit up brilliantly. The government and bailiffs were urgently searching for something under the stern orders of a superior official from the Ministry of Justice.
Chen Pingping narrowed his eyes. He didn't recall there being so many important figures in Dazhou. He lifted his curtain and summoned an unfamiliar official to his side and quietly said some things.
The official's face was unfamiliar, but there was a craftiness in his eyes that showed he clearly understood the affairs of the world. With a gentle smile, he replied, "When the Commissioner was returning to the capital, they arrived here long ago."
Chen Pingping acknowledged this tiredly. A complicated emotion flashed through his eyes. He thought of the conversation he had with the Emperor in the Royal Palace before be left Jingdou. He had already seen the deepest intentions in the Emperor's heart.
In this world, there was no one who understood the Qing Emperor better than Chen Pingping, so his gaze was very complicated. The gaze of the unfamiliar official by the carriage was on the brilliantly lit Dazhou. He stared at the bloody person who had just broken through a heavy siege. After recovering from his shock, his gaze also grew complicated.
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